San Miguel County renovated the outdoor arena at the fairgrounds this last year, and after the chaos of the COVID pandemic, will now celebrate the improvements and the comeback of rodeo this month. 

“This was a much-needed project, which will benefit the entire community,” county open space director Janet Kask said. “We appreciated the efforts of so many to complete this project and appreciate everyone's patience due to the unexpected COVID delays, and their efforts to remobilize their teams and equipment based on our allowable work schedule.”

Great Outdoors Colorado last year awarded $157,103 in grant money that helped pay for replacement of the footing, drainage work and new fencing. San Miguel County was one of 17 projects chosen during that grant cycle and threw in 25 percent in matching funds to make it all possible. The project totaled more than $200,000. 

On Friday, July 30, at 7 p.m., a ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place to celebrate. Kask planned the event to coincide with the San Miguel Basin Rodeo, which happens July 30-31. (Last year rodeo didn’t occur due to the pandemic and also the arena renovations, which were then underway.)

For the ribbon-cutting celebration, County Manager Mike Bordogna, the board of county commissioners, a representative from Great Outdoors Colorado, along with the contractors and staff who saw the project through to completion, will be on site at the fairgrounds. 

The public is invited to be present and help open the rodeo festivities which begin then. 

Jordan Williams, a local rancher and rodeo competitor whose family has helped produce the San Miguel Basin Rodeo for decades, hopes folks in local communities will come out for the weekend. 

“For over a century — 116 years to be exact — Norwood, Colorado has hosted the San Miguel Basin Rodeo,” she told The Norwood Post. “Sticking true to the deeply-rooted Western tradition of the American Southwest, this is a true cowboy and cowgirl spectacle.”

Williams said rodeo is both family fund, and also a date night to remember. She wants all to know the weekend will be action-packed, featuring bull riding, barrel racing, calf roping, bronc riding and more. She said competitors from across the Western Slope region will try for more than $20,000 in prize money. 

She added that spectators can also try to win some of that by entering the notorious wild steer dragging event with a group of friends. 

“Bring the kids and enjoy mutton busting, calf riding and stick horse races,” she said. 

The mutton busting event for kids starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, before the professional rodeo commences. 

“Things start back up again Saturday night,” Williams said. “With the rodeo afterparty following … Special musical guest Arizona Jones will be playing in the indoor arena.”

She encourages all to visit the rodeo’s website at sanmiguelbasinrodeo.com for all things rodeo, including junior rodeo information (happening Friday during the day), pre-sale tickets, and exclusive rodeo merchandise.